He was slightly confused as he watched her pick a few yellow flowers he didn’t know the name of. “What makes you say that?”
“I can’t appreciate them pre-planted in phony little gardens, lined up in a row. Outdoor flowerbeds make me sick and just ruin it for me.”
“Okay.” he said. “Then why are you picking those from the side of the road? For starters, it totally contradicts your original statement. Why would you pick flowers if you hated them? Besides, you know they’re all going to die anyway.”
“These are unscripted, randomly-growing flowers, freely occurring of their own accord from no set design except by nature itself. Free for everyone and anyone to enjoy. But you see, I’m selfish and I want to take a sample of them home to keep all to myself so I can appreciate their beauty in a different way.” She lightly holds one of the flowers in the air in front of her, examining how the frail stem and petals bend in the wind like women in an exercise class. “I pick them, take them home, and then watch them die.” On saying her last word she lets go of the flower, allowing the wind to pick it up and carry it past both of them, out of their line of sight.
He thought about this for a few minutes as they continued to walk, suppressing the urge to cut and run since he barely knew this person. He decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. “You could always take pictures,” he offered.
“It’s not the same,” she said in a dry, slightly irritated voice.
Again he thought for a second and took a deep breath. “What about like, visiting botanical gardens or going on nature hikes, stuff like that. I mean, you’ve got to be able to think of other things you can do.”
She stopped dead in her tracks, spun around to face him. “You just don’t get it do you?”
He stared at her blankly, shocked. Apparently he didn’t. As he watched her storm away he started following behind, keeping a nice distance between them. About three car lengths should be good, he figured. Her black hair swished back and forth across her shoulders like a ball gown from the force of her walking. Her arms were folded tightly across her chest since it was getting late and a cool breeze had begun to sift through the trees and rustle the leaves.
Finally he could see where she’d been leading him this whole time which he was thankful wasn’t some secluded back alley or remote area in the forest. Instead, he found her waiting at the bottom of a fairly large hill, probably used by children in the winter for tobogganing. To the left was a concrete staircase divided down the middle by a rusted old metal handrail, no doubt used by skater punks in the summer.
“Follow me,” she said as she ascended the long stairway, careful not to touch the handrail.
So he followed her to the top of the hill and was amazed at the view and everything he could see. He was also relieved that he could see his red Celica parked on the opposite side of the hill, a few hundred metres down the road.
She took his hand and led him to a clearing on the hill. “Here, I want to show you something, lay down.”
Not quite sure what to expect, he laid himself back on the grass and looked up at the sky. It was a beautifully clear night out and the sky was the deepest, darkest midnight blue he’d ever seen, only lit up by an uncountable number of stars. She laid down beside him, put her arm and head on his chest, facing sideways.
An unknown amount of time to him passed; he seemed to be hypnotised by the night sky, almost in a trance allowing him to forget where he was. Suddenly he noticed a bright flash and then a trail of pink out of the corner of his eye. “Oh my God, did you see that!? I think I just saw a shooting star! I’ve never seen one before. Tell me you just saw that.”
He was too stunned to notice the smile slowly creeping across the corner of her lips, the cream-colour of her skin luminous in the moon light. “No, I must have missed it.”
“What? Ok, you have to watch with me this time so we can see one together.” He said to her while gently nudging her. “Come on. Lie on your back. Trust me, it was beautiful and you’ll love it.”
She didn’t move. “I’ve seen one before.”
Not surprisingly, he couldn’t understand her thought process. “Okay, well, don’t you want to see another one? These don’t happen every day you know.”
“I like remembering the moment of when I saw a shooting star better than seeing one. A lot of times your memory of what really happened will be more spectacular than what actually happened. Memories are precious, and can be forever.”
Like a flash of light inside his head it all finally fell into place and he wasn’t so confused about anything anymore.
“I get it,” he whispered to her. “I think I understand what you’re trying to say.”
He leaned his head in towards hers so they could touch, then he as well closed his eyes. Much like his strong arms holding her in a close, warm embrace beside him, he allowed himself to fully enjoy and embrace the moment; the memory of seeing his first shooting star and the inspiring moments Violet introduced to him which, no doubt, where to be the first of many. Two memories he now knew he would never forget.